Between Feb. 9 and March 29, there were 26 reported crimes in the Ninth Ward.

“Sixty-nine percent of the incidents were theft-related,” said Evanston Police Department Officer Cesar Galindo.

Galindo shared this report during the Ninth Ward’s community meeting Wednesday, March 29. Car thefts are on the rise in Evanston as a whole. A total of six vehicles and three catalytic converters were stolen and two vehicles were burglarized in the ward during the nearly two-month period.

Another six thefts were committed in a building and retail, Galindo said. There were also more violent crimes committed. There were four batteries, but Galindo said that the people involved in those incidents all knew each other.

Earlier in the meeting, City Council Member Jonathan Nieuwsma (4th Ward) shared early plans for a dog park at Grey Park, which is located at Ridge Avenue and Main Street across from Albany Care. Nieuwsma is in the process of collecting input from neighbors about the proposed park.

“The feedback that we’re getting from neighbors is that they would enjoy having this amenity in the neighborhood, and I like the idea because it brings some positive energy to that corner,” Nieuwsma said.

Nieuwsma did not have a cost estimate for the dog park, nor whether there will be a fee for dog owners to use it. He estimates the park will be completed next year and come in under the city’s 2024 budget.

Ninth Ward Council Member Juan Geracaris closed out the meeting with a presentation on the participatory budgeting process in Evanston. Celia Carlino, the participatory budget coordinator, is familiar at the Ninth Ward meetings because she translates all discussion into Spanish. She led the presentation on the city’s first-ever participatory budgeting process. People with ties to Evanston – whether living, working or playing here – get to decide how to spend $3 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds.

It’s hasn’t been determined yet if participatory budgeting will be employed on other projects, but Geracaris said he supports it.

“One of the most exciting things about this project is that high school students can vote on these projects, and there are actual high schoolers that are our budget delegates,” Geracaris said. “Personally, I would be very much in favor of of doing this going forward and finding a portion of our budget to do this every year. I think there’s something powerful about letting people decide and taking community feedback to have projects be completed.”

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Gina Castro

Gina Castro is a Racial Justice fellow for the RoundTable. She recently earned a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism where she studied investigative reporting....

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